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Twitter users report deleted tweets return, won’t delete
May 25, 2023

Twitter users report deleted tweets return, won’t delete

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Zombie tweets are returning from the dead.

Another new bug is apparently plaguing Twitter. And this time the problem is a pretty big one from a privacy standpoint.

Twitter users are reporting that once-deleted tweets have since returned to their profile. The issue affects not only regular tweets, but replies and retweets as well.

The Verge’s James Vincent reported on Monday that he experienced this bug himself. Vincent deleted all of his tweets using the service on May 8. However, Vincent noticed that a few tweets that he had retweeted prior to that date soon returned to his profile feed. In fact, one of the retweeted tweets that were restored to his account was one that he recalled retweeting way back in 2020 as it was a post about a breaking news event at the time.

Last week, ZDNet reported on users facing similar issues with deleted tweets being restored on the platform. One such case involved a user who left Twitter back in November and reportedly deleted all of his tweets. Software developer Dick Morrell recounted what happened to his own Twitter account via a post on Mastodon. 

Morrell said he deleted approximately 38,000 tweets shortly after Elon Musk acquired Twitter last year. His account was left with 5 active tweets after using Redact, a service like TweetDelete that helps mass remove a users’ own social media posts. Morrell later noticed that his Twitter account had a tweet count of around 34,000 tweets. Tens of thousands of the tweets he had deleted were restored to his account.

Since then, Morrell has run the mass deletion tool again and has had to check Twitter every few weeks to make sure random deleted tweets don’t return to his account.

It’s unclear how widespread the issue is. According to Morrell, he’s heard from hundreds of users who’ve experienced a similar issue regarding the return of once deleted tweets. MediaDownloader was able to find a few Twitter users reporting similar experiences.

However, Twitter has been plagued with multiple bizarre issues and bugs since Musk’s takeover. For example, one bug resulted in a significant security issue and caused semi-private circle tweets to be viewed by users outside of the original tweeters circle.

And some developers have suggested that the zombie tweets returning from the dead actually makes sense, if you consider Musk has previously talked about closing data centers and moving servers around. Deleted tweets can suddenly return if Twitter is restoring data from a certain time period, without taking into account that users could have deleted such content in the time between.


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